CRIME WAVE by John Wynne


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Dreary psycho-sexual doings in and around Manhattan--with the sort of unfocused, subplot-heavy construction that suggests a puffed-up short story. Wynne's highly unappealing hero is photo-journalist Jake Adams, who one day--with creepy old pal Stewart Reggino--visits a residential-hotel-cum-whorehouse where N.Y.C. cops hang out, sample the residential talent, and stash assorted stolen loot. Dressed as a cop, Jake is supposedly investigating. But he soon implausibly in love-at-first-sight with one of the hookers: Renee Cloverman (who's actually not really a hooker but just a hotel resident with sado-masochistic tendencies). And when Jake has to go out of town on an assignment, he parks his new bedmate--things become increasingly implausible here--with his aunt, Ella Scotchsmith, who lives with an All-American husband and a gaggle of children in a house on a bay. Predictably, kinky Renee doesn't quite fit in with the Scotchsmiths: she lures precocious lad Perry (an astronomer) to Manhattan for a night of seedy sightseeing (including Renee's brutal sexual encounter with the hotel's slimy clerk); she attracts the lustings of Mr. Scotchsmith, with fellatio in the living room as a result; she winds up threatening one brat with a knife at his throat. And finally Jake and childhood-scarred Renee must part (""Don't you see? I've been wounded. . . . It's a wound of memory"")--while Jake's buddy Stewart, revealed to be a sadistic psycho, gets his just deserts. Strangely stilted dialogue, murky motivation, foul sex-and-violence (which, even when Renee is involved, seems homosexually oriented): an altogether unengaging first novel.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Riverrun--dist. by Flatiron (175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010)